Friday, December 30, 2016

Jaedon + Path, On Route to El Mirage, California, 2016


Regardless of location she shines. Whether on stage or on an off-road path, the level of professionalism Jaedon demonstrates is exceptional. If we see a spot on our way to our final destination, she is always willing to give it a try. This is what happened when we saw this scene to our left. 

We parked to the side of the road, tried to enter a bit and realized that it was best to stay near the road. Jaedon got ready while I put the camera together. Once this scene was composed onto the ground glass of the Hasselblad, I knew we were at the right place. She took her place and we began to expose a roll. Everything just seems so natural with Jaedon, from the drive to the conversation to the photography.

She went back and forth between two worlds, from dance to fashion. With Jaedon these two worlds exist at the same time, true grace and harmony. Releasing the shutter is difficult at times, for it is like watching a performance and trying to remembering to release the shutter once the moment presents itself. Thank goodness she is aware of this and pauses now and then with this in mind.

I look forward to our next collaboration, and to showing the girls in India as well as in Cuba a sister back in the States named Jaedon.



Note: This image was exposed with a Hasselblad V system.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hasselblad + iPhone Landscape, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, 2016


On my last day at the parks in Utah this image was made, with an iPhone and through the viewfinder of the Hasselblad. It was the last image made on my own, and one which represents what my eyes see through the mirror of a medium format. The colors were so vibrant, almost unreal to me!


Note: This image was made with an iPhone 4 through the prism of a Hasselblad V System.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, 2016



On my last day in the parks of Utah, I sat down at this spot to think a bit before heading back to the city. I was in disbelief that a seat with such a view existed. It was just all so surreal!


Note: These images were made with an iPhone 4. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Camille + Dry Lake Bed, El Mirage, California, 2016


My time in California a few months ago was made that much sweeter thanks to this young woman, and her friend Taylor. It was only a month after my return from Cuba, and usually rest is on my mind. It so happened that work took me out west and gave me the perfect opportunity to reach out to dancers interested in a collaboration.

A casting call was placed and contact was immediately made with Cami. She was beyond professional from day one, and went out of her way to share images of the various clothing available for our collaboration. She accepted the location without question, even though our session would take up the large portion of her already busy schedule.

She even invited one of her close friends along for the ride, and offered kindly to include Taylor in our work... an offer I took up with joy as the session progressed. We chose a few places on the dry lake bed in order to vary the backgrounds, and continued as the sun went down.

It was at this time that Ilford Delta 400 ISO film was placed into the camera, and this image was made. In the past I would have refrained from using anything faster than 100 ISO, but now I have come to embrace the grain associated with the higher speed films, and even print the negatives larger in order to accentuate this exquisite characteristic. In this digital age, grain has become to me a reminder of the qualities of film... of how light is captured through silver halides.

So thanks to Cami and her patience, we have this image and the glorious grain that comes with it!



Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Ilford Delta 400 ISO film

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Jaedon + Middle of Street, Los Angeles, California, 2016


She will of course be as humble as anyone in my work, which makes writing about my experiences with her that much more rewarding. This was my second session over the past two years, and in the most amazing space once again. When I reached out to Jaedon about a second collaboration, she accepted without hesitation.

Our first session highlighted her immeasurable dance experience, while our second documented her sense of fashion. Like our first time, she put an incredible amount of effort into putting her clothing together. She sent snapshots of all of her pieces so that we could be on the same page, and of course we were.

Just like the first time, I picked her up near her home and she once again had a bag of food for both of us. This kind gesture is unique to her, and has continued to impress me to this day. It served us well of course, as we decided to stop at a few locations on our way to El Mirage Dry Lake Bed.

This street was one such location, as it appeared to our left on our way to the lake bed. She agreed immediately, and reminded me of the magnificent Anays in Cuba. Both allow themselves to be placed in locations spontaneously, and both take to the spaces beautifully.

A few times during our session cars passed by, and we moved to the side to allow them to pass... returning immediately to our spots and continuing with our photography. Working with Jaedon is both effortless and most rewarding. I look forward to editing the rest of the images for her this week, and to providing her with the fruits of our labor from earlier this year.



Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad V system, onto Ilford Delta 100 ISO film.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Young Student + Chalkboard, Panipat, Haryana, India, 2016


As we get ready to celebrate the holidays over the next seven days, I would like to make time to salute the three dozen people supporting our three schools in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, India. Through their generosity two schools in Rajasthan and a new school in Uttar Pradesh will be active as the new year arrives.

This young girl is from a fourth school, one we hope to also support early next year. She attends a school presently supported by our host from Uttar Pradesh. There is an equal number of boys and girls, and the superintendent has invited us to join in his efforts to help improve the quality of education being provided.

The school has a beautiful courtyard, along with an elegant mosque. It provides an education to an impoverished population, at times off of the government radar regarding a proper education. We were allowed to photograph every single one of the students, including the older girls. This level of cooperation in such a conservative community speaks volumes about our hosts, and about the community itself. They embraced us without question, Muslims and Hindus and a Christian working side by side for the sake of the children.



Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Young Student + Classroom, Panipat, Haryana, India, 2016


After three dozen people came together over the past year to fund our three schools in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, we have found further inspiration to continue in this direction. One person from this circle even asked me, how about a school for 1,000?

Well, we are heading in that direction as Nirvana Bodhisattva travels to Uttar Pradesh to discuss the upcoming school in the region. This first school will be established early next year, and with its success we will proceed with the neighboring village hopefully.

However, there is a school just over the border in Haryana which deserves support, as all schools do of course. Our hosts introduced us to this school early this year, and we fell in love with the students as well as the efforts being made on behalf of the children.

We were allowed to photograph all of the children, even including some of the older girls, albeit after some insistence by me. The children were so happy to be photographed, and it was spontaneous to say the least. We walked from one classroom to the next, stepped inside and started with the portraits.

The boys were great, remained relaxed throughout. The girls were just as beautiful, and took the chance to express themselves to the stranger with the camera. This young student's smile says it all, as she stood facing the doorway to be photographed with the chalkboard as her backdrop.

We will be working with her school, and will be visiting her classmates again in a few months. Let's support Nirvana as he helps establish the first school, and then hope we can do the same on behalf of this young girl the following year.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Moon + Field, Zion National Park, Utah, 2016


As I was exiting the park this scene caught my eye. Very few people were in the park at this time, and so it was easy to pull over and make this image. The clouds from earlier in the day had broken up and gave the sky a beautiful texture.

This was the last image made in the park, before heading back to my room. The next day I headed out to Bryce Canyon National Park, and to the its famous hoodoos.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

On My Way Back, Zion National Park, Utah, 2016


This weekend, like the past few, has been spent in one of Utah's venerable parks, Zion National Park. Most of the time, because it is Winter, it feels like I am the only one in these spaces. This image is one example, on my way back from photographing a distant portion of the park. 

There was nobody around, as the sun set and gently touched the peaks of these towers. The sky turned a sublime hue, and a few minutes later this scene disappeared for the night. A quick snapshot was made to share with my family and friends, and I look forward to seeing all in two weeks upon my return to Cleveland.



Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bush + Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, 2016


While my trip to Lebanon had to be cancelled in order for me to be in Utah, it has turned into a fortunate series of visits to the national parks. This image is from my recent trip to Arches National Park, a space that looked like it was designed by the most divine of landscape artists.

Sheer, red cliffs rise from the earth, the most delicate of arches form windows for us to see what is on the other side. The colors are as vibrant as any oil masterpiece, and even more so. The air is clean and fresh, giving me more energy to continue on the trails.

Three days were spent walking around the park, and I was unable to find a single piece of trash anywhere, a single tiny piece of paper. The place left me speechless and I look forward to this weekend's trip to the venerable Zion National Park!



Note: Image made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Monument Valley National Park, Border of Arizona + Utah, 2016


This was the view three hours ago as we looked for the perfect spot to photograph the valley for sunset. Earlier in the day I met a fellow photographer and we ended up spending the entire day together, making my time in the park that much more enjoyable. 

We talked shop of course, and shared stories regarding our work. We spent two hours at this very spot, taking it all in and waiting for the shadows to start walking further and further on the floor of the valley. The space is truly humbling, incredibly spiritual.

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www.halimina.blogspot.com

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dancers + Friends, El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, California, 2016


A month or so ago it was my honor to photograph these two incredible dancers and friends at this timeless space. At first it was Cami who had responded to my casting call for dancers near Los Angeles, then Taylor graced us with her presence.

We met in the city and drove out to El Mirage for the afternoon. We were fortunate on that day, for earlier in the week the wind was out of control in the valley. When we arrived it was warm and just slightly windy. When the wind did pick up a little, they never complained and incorporated it into their movements. We exposed a few rolls per outfit, and moved the car from one location to the next in order to change the background as well.

Sometimes working with two people can present a challenge, but these two incredible spirits represented the highest of their art form in my humble opinion. They only needed a minute to discuss ideas, and presented incredible feelings frame after frame with very little time in between. This impressed me deeply then, and even more so now after seeing the results.

Watching them work together, and move from one expression to another was like sitting down for a performance. There were times when it was necessary to remind myself that my job was to document the performance, while still enjoying it. To have been granted the opportunity was both an honor and a privilege; and my hope is that the images are a testament to their physical talents and spiritual kindness.



Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sisters + Courtyard of School, Rajasthan, India, 2015


When my work began in this region a decade ago, it did so with little context. Regardless of the number of stories told to me by my Indian friends or those traveling before me, nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. While the general presentation was somewhat overwhelming, the learning was accomplished through the nuances. 

Then one day we were visiting this very spot thanks to the graces of Humana India when one of people from the foundation asked me to stop. It seemed that one of the girls wanted to tell us something. All gathered around us while this young student shared a snapshot of her life with us.

Paraphrased from my memory 10 years later, here is what she shared with us: "Before this school, I never cared about washing my hands, taking care of my skin and brushing my hair. Before this school I walked around this village without sandals, and never thought much about what will come. Since this school began, I think about my future, wash my hands and take care of myself every day. This is what this school means to me."

To see her standing here next to her younger sister makes me very proud of the work Humana India did in this village for so many years. She is an impressive, young woman now and has begun her own family. My hope is that her voice will be heard, and that her daughters in the near future will attend schools just as she was able to do.



Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M2.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Camille + Sky, El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, California, 2016


This past year was a truly remarkable one thanks in part to this exquisite dancer, and her incredible heart. She responded to my casting call for dancers this past October, and never let the communication go as we went back and forth. She was totally engaged in the concept, giving her 100% throughout the process.

Even before we met she shared the clothing options, all dark and timeless according to my preferences. With respect she asked for the company of a friend, a friend who turned out to be a dancer and as wonderful of a spirit. We met in Los Angeles in front of her apartment and headed out to El Mirage for the afternoon.

We were lucky on that day, for earlier in the week the wind was howling in the valley. When we arrived it was warm and just slightly windy. When the wind did pick up a little, they never complained and incorporated it into their vision. We exposed a few rolls per outfit, and moved the car from one location to the next in order to change the background as well.

Watching Camille move from one expression to another was like sitting down for a performance. There were times when it was necessary to remind myself that my job was to document the performance, while still enjoying it. To have been granted the opportunity was both an honor and a privilege; and my hope is that the images are a testament to her physical talents and spiritual kindness. 



Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180mm combination onto Ilford Delta 100 film.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Young Student, Panipat, Haryana, India, 2016


Three years after my initial visit to this region we were taken to this young girl's school, thanks to our hosts from my first visit. The years had helped form a bond between us, and they wanted to introduce us to a school in which they were involved. So one morning Nirvana Bodhisattva and I were introduced to this community,and its beautiful students.

For the sake of efficiency, Nirvana Bodhisattva and his team went about speaking with the teachers while I walked to each classroom making portraits of every single student. She was one of these students, and walked over near to the doorway to have her portrait made. She seemed calm while her friends had their portraits made, and became a little anxious when it was her turn to do so. She did however make the most beautiful portrait, and at the same time a deep impression on me.

While I am in love with the single image, there is so much that is missed with the single exposure: the way she sat while her friends had their portraits made, how she reacted when it was her time to stand up, and how her eyes moved in between shutter releases.

Her school will be the third one in this region to be presented for collaboration, and we hope that the success in our first two schools will inspire all of you to join us.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Anyel + Patricia, Guanabacoa, Cuba, 2016



Today was a long day in Salt Lake City, but a thoroughly rewarding one with a wonderful team doing its best for our patients. When I returned to my room, I was greeted by the best news: the film from this summer in Cuba is now ready for review!

So in light of this news two images are being shared from one morning with these two wonderful women. One has been a friend for a few years, while the other was brand new to our photography. They however worked perfectly together, one in front of the lens while the other changed in Alejandro's 1954 Chevrolet.

Our work in this small town made Alejandro quite the star, as we visited many times with different dancers and models. He took to his stardom quite well, always smiling and waving as we drove slowly down the streets.

For our session we were blessed with the stylings of Yudel R. Contreras Garcia, an incredibly gifted clothing designer living in La Habana, Cuba. This beautiful man gave us a selection of designs for our use, and allowed us to use his clothing on more than a few occasions. This is our second year of collaboration, and I look forward very much to next summer's inventions from his studio.


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Note: These images were made with a Sony RX100M3. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Neighbor's Son, Village near Alwar, Rajasthan, 2016


This beautiful boy lives next to my dear friend in a small village just outside of Alwar, Rajasthan. He and his sisters' features immediately caught my attention when visiting my friend one afternoon, and we photographed them the very next day. There was something about these children, always smiling and smiling beautifully!

Their smiles exuded pure love and understanding. They watched as my interest increased as each one of them was photographed. They were naturals in front of the lens, and my friend Mukesh knew that they affected me deeply.

After we were finished with the portraits for the morning, we continued with the digital camera in the neighbor's courtyard. The children loved being photographed, and I loved photographing them. Every time we returned to their village, I remembered their names and this made them smile even more.

I cannot wait to see them in February, and to see this very smile on their angelic faces!


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Boys Will Be Boys, Rural Kisumu, Kenya, 2007


Going through the negatives from almost ten years ago in Kenya has made me want to go back to the continent as well as print some of the negatives never printed. The scenes have a timeless feel to them, and they are complimented by the traditional school uniforms of the students. 

During my time in Kenya boys and girls were photographed equally, a departure from my work in Asia. The boys were wonderful, and had their own flavor to present. Some were serious, some were withdrawn and some were anything but either such as the young boy in between the two!

On this afternoon we visited a school deep in rural Kenya, and made photographs of the students under cloudy skies. We decided to make group photographs to see how individuals in small groups would react to each other. The results were all over the place, and all were wonderful to document.

Next year around this time will be my return to the continent, and this time perhaps to the southern half. 


Note: This image was made with a Nikon analog system.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Young Student + Field, Village near Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2016


Continuing the series from this region of India, this student's portrait is presented. Thanks to our generous hosts Imdadullah Nadvi Imdadullah Nadvi Imdadullah Nadvi and Munshad Ali Chauhan, we were able to spend a week in this troubled region of India and make portraits of the most exquisite children. 

This school happens to be the school in their village. These two brothers are now in a position to change the system of education in their region, as one is an Islamic leader while the other is the political leader. They both hope to make serious advances on behalf of their community, and especially the children.

Soon we hope this young girl will have access to a full education, in addition to her traditional training. Her portrait was made just behind the mosque, right before their classes began. Her expression is etched in my mind, and moves me to fulfill my end of the conversation from earlier this year.

The place is beyond my ability to describe adequately, and upon seeing it for the very first time I knew this was a place I needed to be. Next year when we do return we will return with a plan, and the funds to help that plan come to fruition. I can feel it in my bones, as real to me as her image is to all of you.



Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Field + Shapes, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, 2016


Today I head back to Salt Lake City with this incredible space on my mind. While my trip to Lebanon has been delayed until the end of December, my time in Utah has been transformational... allowing me to get a taste of landscape photography really for the first time.

This image was made as I was returning from the end of the park, and towards Delicate Arch. The sun was rising from behind these shapes, and caught my attention immediately. The field was a beautiful and bright yellow, leading right up to these towers.

While it will be colder for the rest of the month, more visits to parks will be planned, including Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks!



Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Brush + Boulders, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, 2016


The entire day was spent at this sublime location, walking around pristine landscapes and trying to control myself in documenting the beauty all around me. Such scenes as this image are everywhere, really everywhere!

From the saturated, red soil rise the most beautiful monuments made from stone. Within many of these structures exist the arches for which this park is known. There are snow covered mountains in the distance, green covered mounds which look out of this world and barren landscapes as well.

The end of the day was spent hiking to the most famous of the arches, called Delicate Arch. The hike took a little out of me, but the scene which was waiting really took my breath away. My hope is that the film images will contain this same feeling.



Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Contrast, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, 2016


This weekend is being spent in one of the most beautiful places in Utah. Being assigned to Salt Lake City for two months has its silver lining, as its landscapes are incredibly sublime. Every weekend will be spent in a different national park, and hopefully the weather will hold up for my stay.

This image was made towards the end of my time in the park this afternoon, and makes me look forward to tomorrow's adventures even more so. Tomorrow will be completely spent in this park, and I will walk to the famous arches for more intimate images.


Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Young Students + Field, Kairana, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2016


Since my first visit to this region in 2013, the communities have embraced me and my work fully. Although they are deeply conservative, they have allowed me to photograph their daughters without limitation. They know of my work, and understand my admiration and adoration of the girl spirit.

So when Anna showed interest in another school for this region, it gave me further impetus to present it once again to our FB family. So in this spirit, and over the next two months, I will once again present a second school for your collective review. We do so on behalf of girls just like these two students, who are as hungry for an education as any in the world.

We met them through our hosts in a village near the city of Kairana, in Uttar Pradesh. We were allowed to photograph all of the students in the school, including all of the girls. This is almost unheard of in such a conservative society, but this is the privilege we have been granted by our friends.

They were so excited to see us, and got up quickly when their turn came to be photographed. We found a spot behind the mosque where they had been studying, with the most beautiful fields as our backdrop. Until we arrived that morning they had no idea they were going to be photographed... so none of us could have imagined the surprise in store for us that morning!

So Anna, should we be able to gather another 24 people for this school, we will make it happen immediately. We have 3 months to make this happen!

Thank you for the inspiration!


Note: This image was made by a Sony RX100M3. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Woman + Walking Cane, Eastern Kenya, 2007


During my time in Kenya, I was privileged to work with the Maragoli Community Development Foundation. We went from village to village and documented the people living in the countryside. The foundation sas doing meaningful work, and this manifested itself in the warm embrace we received throughout my time in this beautiful land.

During our walks we ran across various groups of people, including this woman and a few of her friends. They asked to be photographed and we did so against this backdrop of boulders. The foundation worked with both mentally and physically challenged individuals, people who inspired me greatly in large part due to the difficulties they faced on a day to day basis.

While being physically challenged is certainly an immense hardship in societies which accommodate somewhat for their citizens with such challenges, being physically challenged in rural Kenya is another matter altogether. Some are hidden out of view by their families due to shame, while others walk a very lonely path with their challenges.

It was my privilege sincerely to have photographed this beautiful woman, and so many like her rising above their circumstances... refusing to be labeled and contributing to their communities fully.


Note: This image was made with a Nikon analog system.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Young Student + Bench, Panipat, Haryana, India, 2016


Since my first visit to this region in 2013, the communities have embraced me and my work fully. Although they are deeply conservative, they have allowed me to photograph their daughters without limitation. They know of my work, and understand my admiration and adoration of the girl spirit.

So when Anna showed interest in another school for this region, it gave me further impetus to present it once again to our FB family. So in this spirit, and over the next two months, I will once again present a second school for your collective review. We do so on behalf of girls just like this very student, who is as hungry for an education as any in the world.

We met her through our hosts in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh. One of our hosts invited us to a school in nearby Panipat, Haryana. We drove out for an afternoon visit and were greeted by some of the most beautiful children in the world. We were allowed to photograph all of the students in the school, including all of the girls. This is almost unheard of in such a conservative society, but this is the privilege we have been granted by our friends.

She and her friends were so excited to see us, and got up quickly when their turn came to be photographed. They walked over to where the teacher usually sat, close to the doorway in order to be graced by the light.

So Anna should we be able to gather another 24 people for this school, we will make it happen immediately. We have 3 months to make this happen!

Thank you for the inspiration!